Certified Coding Specialist (CCS®)
Applicants outside the U.S. should visit the international exam tab.
CCSs are skilled in classifying medical data from patient records, generally in a hospital setting. These coding practitioners:
- Review patients’ records and assign numeric codes for each diagnosis and procedure
- Possess expertise in the ICD-9-CM and CPT coding systems
- Are knowledgeable about medical terminology, disease processes, and pharmacology.
Different facilities and institutions make use of a CCSs' skills:
- Hospitals and medical providers take the coded data created by CCSs to insurance companies—or to the government in the case of Medicare and Medicaid recipients—for reimbursement of expenses
- Researchers and public health officials also use this data to monitor patterns and explore new interventions
Coding accuracy is highly important to healthcare organizations, and has an impact on revenues and describing health outcomes. In fact, certification has become an implicit industry standard. Accordingly, the CCS credential demonstrates a practitioner's tested data quality and integrity skills, and mastery of coding proficiency. Professionals experienced in coding inpatient and outpatient records should consider obtaining this certification.
Candidates must meet one of the following eligibility requirements:
- By Credential: RHIA®, RHIT®, or
- By Education: Completion of a coding training program that includes anatomy & physiology, pathophysiology, pharmacology, medical terminology, reimbursement methodology, intermediate/advanced ICD diagnostic/procedural and CPT coding; OR
- By Experience: Minimum of two (2) years of related coding experience directly applying codes; OR
- By Credential with Experience: CCA® plus one (1) year of coding experience directly applying codes; OR
- Other Coding credential from other certifying organization plus one (1) year coding experience directly applying codes.
Submitting an Application
Before submitting an application, carefully review the information contained in this guide. It is the candidate's responsibility to ensure eligibility before submitting the application. Applicants who are determined to be ineligible and submit an ineligible application or request withdrawal of their application, will receive a refund of the application fee minus a $75 processing fee.
The CCS and CCA certifications are now included as one of the national certifications that may be submitted on the Demographic Information Form (DIF) as part of the data requirements for making application for Magnet Recognition Program® designation. You can view this information on the ANCC/Magnet Recognition Program page here (scroll down to "Selected Examples of National Certifications for Submission on the DIF" and click on the excel link).